What secularism did to us?
Secularism made us perfect and thus… very unhappy.
We gave up God, we said we can figure things ourselves, and then we took the matter in our hands.
That was not the brightest decision we made, not that it was the first time we make not so good choices. We became CEOs of the Universe and wanted to fix everything. We try to make heavens on earth through medicine, technology and science and we „repaired” (more or less) a lot of things: starvation, maladies, wars but on the other hand a lot of other things grew out of control: anxiety or pollution for example.
We became CEOs of the Universe and wanted to fix everything
If it is not already obvious, I have a strong religious background and, unfortunately for my family’s spiritual concerns I declare myself agnostic (I can hear my mom in the back of my head saying “God be with you, child”- thank you, mom). Even if I am going to spend the whole eternity boiling in a pit, there are a lot of things I love about religion: pessimism for example. The holy books (at least the orthodox ones) tell us that we live in an imperfect world, a mere bad copy of the true one. And that, my dear reader, is very comforting. Hey, things don’t have to go well all the time and if they don’t it might not even be my fault- I’m weak and fragile by default through The Original Sin. Not that I want to pass responsibility but most of the time when something doesn’t work as we imagined it, instead of thinking what we did good we say: “I’m good for nothing”, “How could I do such a thing”, “I can’t imagine it was me”- you know the self-shaming ritual.
In the modern society if we don’t have the perfect job, the perfect house and the perfect family we consider ourselves failures. Even if we have a nice apartment, some amazing projects we work on and a partner that loves us deeply even if sometimes we argue over misplaced socks. Even if we have all of that, we are not satisfied and if we continue in this way we will never be.
Christianity, at least, does not have very high expectations of us. We are expected to have flaws, made mistakes, be narcissistic, egocentric, ignorants, materialists, fragile, lost or lustful. Not even the apostles were perfect and let’s not talk about Juda but about Peter… the one who Jesus called “the rock of my church”… trust me, after you read the Bible you’ll see he was neither the brightest nor the most faithful- see the Denial of Peter.
Life as a sinner is not that bad…it can be fun, and if you get bored of sinning or the consciousness catches up with you eventually you’ll start thinking about other things such as generosity, empathy, humbleness… On the other hand, our secular society expects us to be perfect, happy, kind, smart and brave all the times. It doesn’t even give us some guidelines, it expects us to figure it ourselves… seriously, no pressure at all.
We are not given any guidelines into how to live a good life except: buy this and you need to have that
When it comes to religious thought, things are more complicated than the way I presented them. I oversimplified and pass a blind eye to a lot of abuses of power that happened over the centuries. Nevertheless, what I wanted to highlight was a mechanism, a framework that I consider is better for our mental health. We all have that voice in our head (metaphorically speaking- if you hear voices, go and see a doctor) that is very obsessed about perfection. It is that judging part inside ourselves that tears us apart. Is easy to judge when “you are perfect”, but we are not and that annoying itch is an illusion. We are not perfect and we could not have done things better than we already did them. However, this lets space for improvements for the next time, but not now. We must be real and admit we are imperfect and not even rational. We are very often lead by instincts and habits and once we admit that the flaws are in our nature we won’t only grow compassion for ourselves but also for the others. When we can’t see the evil inside we will project it outside and this is dangerous because it can lead to very terrible events- see The Second World War.
The modern man in his “perfection” lacks 2 fundamental traits: compassion and humbleness. We are not gods, we are not God, and maybe we don’t have to fix things all the time and maybe there is nothing to be fixed in the first place.
Your most cherished and beloved sinner,